L’Arche Montréal is a place where people with intellectual disabilities (welcoming people) and those who have come to help them (assistants) share their daily lives. Welcoming people and assistants develop interpersonal relationships that go beyond help and work. Together, the members of L’Arche, with or without intellectual disability, live in community: participating in chores, decisions, reflections, celebrations and gatherings, etc. Everyone is invited to contribute to life together according to their abilities and desires.
L’Arche Montréal is a non-profit organization located in the southwestern part of the island of Montréal.
The history of the community begins on September 16, 1977 with the opening of the first home, l’Esquif. L’Arche Montréal celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. Today, the community permanently welcomes 25 people with an intellectual disability in five homes: L’Esquif, La colombe, L’Arc-en-ciel, La Passerelle and Le Rameau. The community also has an art studio and day centre, L’Alizé, which welcomes both people from L’Arche Montréal and people living with their families or in other local establishments.
The community is well integrated into its environment, collaborating with other organizations and participating in various local activities. On the last Monday of each month, the community welcomes all people, friends, family members, volunteers and supporters for a coffee meeting to share about different aspects of life in L’Arche.
Activities for young people with an intellectual disability, students and elderly people are carried out in collaboration with several partners in L’Arche premises.
L’Arche’s goal is to provide people with intellectual disabilities with a congenial environment that is conducive to creating a home, developing their gifts through work and leisure, building friendships or, more simply, enjoying life. Assistants participate fully in this project through a commitment that favours mutual relations.
During the day, most of the people welcomed at L’Arche work either at Atelier L’Alizé or in other workshops located on the island of Montréal. Community life is punctuated by formal and informal meetings. They take place, among other things, at home parties, community gatherings, birthday parties or other celebrations. Assistants, former assistants and people with intellectual disabilities participate actively in a spirit of fraternity.